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State of Grace Hardcover – September 1, 2015
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The Amazon Book Review
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Wren lives in paradise, where every day is a perfect mix of swimming, relaxing, eating luscious fresh fruit, and hooking up with her latest love interest. There is no shame and body image is appreciated, with clothing being optional. Thanks to Dot, Wren's Creator, Wren believes that her world is perfect, and has no negative feelings. However, the teen begins to see cracks in her Creation as she experiences visions and conjures up memories, words, and images. These visions cause her to feel confusion and intense guilt. They occur more frequently when she meets Dennis, a regular boy who enters into Dot's Creation. Wren and her friends work together to keep Dennis hidden from others and to find out why he was sent, in the process finding out much more than they bargained for. Badger crafts a beautiful dystopian world in her YA debut. The author dives deep into the soul of a teenager, providing an up-close look at guilt, depression, and crime. Badger creates a thought-provoking work, complete with riveting suspense, a fast pace, and a touch of romance. The line between truth and reality is often blurred, leaving readers questioning themselves, the belief system they were raised in, and the power of choice and their own voice. This novel sheds light on realistic issues that impact teens. VERDICT An excellent addition to young adult collections.—Erin Holt, Williamson County Public Library, Franklin, TN
About the Author
Hilary Badger is the author of many books for children and teenagers. As a copywriter at an advertising agency, she has created campaigns from all kinds of products from underwear to cat food, chocolate bars and ice cream.
Top customer reviews
It took a little bit to get into this book, but I absolutely loved the concept. At the beginning of the book, I swear it sounds like all the kids in the garden are part of a cult. The world building and descriptions of the garden were wonderful. There is a deity they call "Dot," there is a "Book of Dots" that governs their behavior, and there is constant chatter and excitement about "completion night," where some of the lucky ones will be "chosen" by Dot. These teenagers were so happy about everything and it was just eery. One of the issues with the book though was that there were so many people in the garden and it was hard to differentiate between them, probably because everyone was so damn happy. Wren starts having visions of another life and she feels it's a test from Dot. Everything about it just got weirder and weirder and sounded like some sort of twisted religion. When a boy enters their garden, Wren is forced to accept that Dot doesn't exist and that there actually is a whole world outside the garden. Wren also has to choose between the artificial bliss she is used to or the harsh realities of day to day life. I thought there was some great character development with Wren and I really understood her decision making process. It just took me a while to connect with her. This was a very creepy look at technology and learning to think for yourself, but it wasn't the best.
I felt old. Like how Drew Barrymore's character must have felt in Never Been Kissed when she walked into that school and had to somehow fit in.
Wren and co were all very touchy-feely, let's all go skinny dipping in the lake and talk about who we are going to have sex with next. Everybody's tatas and willies were hanging out all over the place. All I could think of was, what the heck did I sign up for.
There was no way I was going to enjoy this book.
But then something changed for Wren and she could no longer continue on like normal, and I started getting more into the story.
I liked this turn of events and the changes it brought to the story. Watching her life unravel was really fascinating because the more she learned about what was really going on, the more it made me think.
By the end I can see the pluses to both groups. I understand why someone would choose to take that path, and why someone would rebel against it. But is either one the right path for all? Who are any of them to judge that? I think this is an interesting book to debate about morals and feelings in a book club setting.
Part of what kept me from getting into the story for so long was the characters.
Everyone was all brainwashed cult happy that they kind of annoyed me. (Which I 100% think they were meant too because of the whole vibe the book was setting up.) But as Wren started changing, nearly everyone else stayed the same. Some of the secondary characters blended together and I wasn't sure who was who at times.
As the story progressed, it got more and more interesting.
By the time I reached the end, I was pretty absorbed in this world. I wanted all the answers, even I call all the twists and turns early on.
"Dreams are never as interesting to other people as they are to the person who has them."
"Everything is easier when someone is telling you what to do."
"That's the thing about the pretruth. Once enough people believe it, it's almost impossible to change their minds."
"All I can say is, it's hard reshaping everything you believe. Even when you think you've done it, your old ideas have this habit of popping up to make sure you doubt yourself."
I think this book might have benefited from a different blurb, as this one gives a lot way. If you don't read it, then the world is more questionable in the sense that you might not predict where everything is going to end up at the start. That said, State of Grace was an interesting read that got better and better as we moved through this world.
Most recent customer reviews
Fern and Wren are best friends, living in a paradise governed by Dot.Read more
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in...Read more
Overall, I did enjoy this book.Read more